Feeds

Huge FOUR-winged dino SPREAD LEGS to KILL – scientists

Feathery limbs acted as 'extra set of wings' for precision attacks

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

Flabbers around the world were gasted this week, as news emerged of a previously unknown flying dinosaur equipped with feathered legs – giving it the ability to make precision landings or attacks on its prey.

Feathery death from above

The 125-million-year-old dinosaur is of the Microraptor group and is named Changyuraptor yangi. Its fossilised remains were found in Liaoning Province, northeastern China. The remarkably well preserved dinosaur was particularly feathery, according to the investigating boffins, having not only ordinary wings but also its remarkable feathered legs - able to act more or less as a second set of wings for extra-precise flight manoeuvres - and also a tail with extra-long feathers.

"At a foot in length, the amazing tail feathers of Changyuraptor are by far the longest of any feathered dinosaur," boasts Luis Chiappe, one of the paleontologists who discovered the multiplex-winged monster.

According to the Los Angeles County Natural History Museum, where Dr Chiappe works:

These microraptorine dinosaurs are dubbed "four-winged" because the long feathers attached to the legs have the appearance of a second set of wings.

The tail and extra wings would have given the Changyuraptor extra fine control during landings, either ordinary ones or those carried out during hunting. Chiappe and his colleagues write:

The new fossil possesses the longest known feathers for any non-avian dinosaur. Furthermore, it is the largest theropod with long, pennaceous feathers attached to the lower hind limbs (that is, ‘hindwings’). The lengthy feathered tail of the new fossil provides insight into the flight performance of microraptorines and how they may have maintained aerial competency at larger body sizes. We demonstrate how the low-aspect-ratio tail of the new fossil would have acted as a pitch control structure reducing descent speed and thus playing a key role in landing.

Full boffinry detail on the new flying leg-spreading dino can be found here, courtesy of the journal Nature Communications. ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
Renewable energy 'simply WON'T WORK': Top Google engineers
Windmills, solar, tidal - all a 'false hope', say Stanford PhDs
FORGET the CLIMATE: FATTIES are a MUCH BIGGER problem - study
Fat guy? Drink or smoke? You're worse than a TERRORIST
SEX BEAST SEALS may be egging each other on to ATTACK PENGUINS
Boffin: 'I think the behaviour is increasing in frequency'
HUMAN DNA 'will be FOUND ON MOON' – rockin' boffin Brian Cox
Crowdfund plan to stimulate Blighty's space programme
Post-pub nosh neckfiller: The MIGHTY Scotch egg
Off to the boozer? This delicacy might help mitigate the effects
I'M SO SORRY, sobs Rosetta Brit boffin in 'sexist' sexy shirt storm
'He is just being himself' says proud mum of larger-than-life physicist
NASA launches new climate model at SC14
75 days of supercomputing later ...
Britain's HUMAN DNA-strewing Moon mission rakes in £200k
3 days, and Kickstarter moves lander 37% nearer takeoff
prev story

Whitepapers

Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Getting ahead of the compliance curve
Learn about new services that make it easy to discover and manage certificates across the enterprise and how to get ahead of the compliance curve.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.